29 August 2014
South African President Jacob Zuma and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed various ways of strengthening ties between their two countries during a meeting at the Novo-Ogarevo presidential residence outside Moscow on Thursday.
According to a statement by the Presidency, Putin stressed the need for the two governments to work on implementing the agreements signed during his state visit to South Africa last year, while calling for the strengthening of tourism, cultural and educational exchanges.
He also commended the work that had been done by the Russia-South Africa Business Council, which resulted in a 13% increase in trade between South Africa and Russia in 2013, and asked for the country’s assistance in taking over the leadership of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) grouping next year.
Zuma, for his part, appealed to Putin for Russia’s support in South Africa’s drive to improve the delivery of water, sanitation and energy in the country, and to tackle the challenges it faced in education and agriculture.
He briefed Putin on the security situation in Africa, and requested support for establishing the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises, a temporary standby force capable of responding quickly to crisis situations in Africa.
Zuma also raised the matter of the repatriation of the remains of South African liberation heroes, including Ivor David Jones, JB Marks and Moses Kotane, who are buried in Russia.
“Both Presidents committed themselves to working together in … further cementing the existing warm relations between the two countries for the economic and social development of their peoples,” the Presidency said.